Fringe Box



Screen Dragon: The Daringly Eccentric Story of a Woman Bought Back From The Dead

Published on: 7 Feb, 2024
Updated on: 7 Feb, 2024

By Mark Kitchen

Hilarious, eccentric, disturbing, outlandish – just some of the words that could be used to describe Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest award-winning creation Poor Things.

I use the word creation as an apt reference to the central concept of this film. The plot focuses on fictional Victorian scientist Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) and his subject Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), who he has brought back to life after her mysterious and untimely death.

Completely relearning how to function and interact with her surroundings, Bella sets off on a voyage of self-discovery and exploration of the world around her, primarily alongside love interest Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo).

Much of the comedy in the film comes from the cleverly crafted and often blunt dialogue. Bella learns 25 new words per day, but what she doesn’t learn is how inappropriate it is to talk about taboo subjects with complete strangers. Duncan’s witty dialogue bounces off Bella’s perfectly and is a testament to great scriptwriting.

The use of colour and elaborate set designs make Poor Things a visual feast. Beginning in Godwin’s mansion, the film is initially in black and white, which sets the Victorian scene but also reflects how bland Bella’s life is before she is allowed to venture outside.

As soon as she is free to explore the likes of Lisbon and Paris, the world becomes intensely vibrant and Bella wants to experience anything and everything she can. In light of this, the film is frequently sexually explicit, which some viewers might find gratuitous at times.

The film contains several fantastic performances but it is Emma Stone who shines brightest here, perfectly producing the intriguing, unpredictable and unstable character she portrays.

While there are moments in the film where the pacing drifts and the story loses its way slightly, overall, Poor Things is a ludicrously funny, daringly abnormal escapade that is sure to entertain almost anyone. Just don’t go in expecting any resemblance of a conventional Hollywood-style blockbuster and you’ll be fine.Running time: 2 hours 21 mins

Click here to see show times at Guildford Odeon

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